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Animal Allergen Q&A with Industry Expert, Mark Liffers

chem_lab-resized-600Below, you can find all your burning animal allergen questions answered by industry expert, Mark Liffers. For more information on our biosafety services, click here.

Could you elaborate on sampling for the allergens? How does IOM sampler work? Is it diffusion or active (air pump) sampling?

It is an active sampling method used for inhalable particulates.  Galson Labs (an AIHA accredited laboratory) has a good description of the sampler.

How often do you monitor for allergens with badges on staff?

Typically a baseline and annual resurveys.  Also, whenever there is a significant change in operations or in the facility

Have there been any luck with workers going for allergy shots for these allergens? 

Not specifically. Although it is usually in conjunction with other allergies.  

With the N95 could this be a volantary program or fit test? I did not think the N95 was required to have physical, fit test etc.

I recommend fit testing because it helps to ensure a good protection, and there is a  % of the population that will not get a good fit on the respirator tested, and will need another type or style. Since it is a respirator, users should always be medically qualified.

Our vivarium vents outside of a research building. The smell of used bedding is very strong I am a bit concerend about visitors and workers. We actually had a Fire Marshall go into anaphallaxis. Is there some way to ameliorate this?

Interesting!  Without seeing it I can’t really comment.  It sounds like you need a thorough risk assessment and evaluation of the operations, ventilation, etc.

What are your thoughts on the use of surgical masks?

These are not rated as respirators, and typically used to protect the animals from you.  They will not give reliable protection.  I recommend N-95 respirators that will protect the worker as well as protect the animals.

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